NIO’s New Factory to Produce EV Models from Third Sub-Brand

Chinese electric vehicle maker NIO‘s new factory will be located in Chuzhou Economic Development Zone, Anhui Province, a province in the East of China, to produce EV models from the company’s third brand, local media outlet Cailian Press reported on February 21.

On January 29 this year, the commencement ceremony of an EV parts production base was held. According to reports by local media, there are 98 projects with a total investment of 89.5 billion yuan ($13 billion). Among them, the Chuzhou Economic Development Zone participated in 11 projects with a total investment of 13.8 billion yuan, covering auto parts, photovoltaic materials, healthy food, advanced manufacturing and other fields.

A spokesperson from Chuzhou Development and Reform Commission said that NIO‘s factory will soon be built there, which is based on the factory of Leopaard, a now bankrupt light off-road vehicle manufacturer in China.

Models from NIO‘s lower-end sub-brand will be produced at the Chuzhou Factory. On January 26, Qin Lihong, co-founder and president of NIO, said that the company’s new sub-brands are in full swing, and the third brand named “Firefly” will be launched in the third quarter of 2024 in Europe. The brand will focus on small cars and mini-cars with a price range between 100,000 yuan to 200,000 yuan. “Firefly” is NIO‘s internal code for the sub-brand as the specific brand name has not been confirmed yet.

Qin said that Europe is a small-car-oriented market, so the company will produce smaller vehicles for the market. Earlier, William Li, founder, chairman and CEO of NIO, had visited SAIC-GM-Wuling, a joint venture between SAIC Motor, General Motors, and Wuling Motors, and tested a mini EV, which triggered speculation about NIO‘s entry into the market segment.

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At present, NIO has two production bases in Hefei, the capital of Anhui Province, which will produce models under the NIO brand and its second brand named “Alpine”. Inside NIO, the three major brands are similar to Toyota’s Suzuki, Toyota and Lexus.

In addition, supporting enterprises for NIO have gradually settled in Chuzhou Economic Development Zone. On January 30, the zone’s government and Ningbo Sunshine Auto Parts Co., Ltd. signed a contract to build a new lightweight automobile interior system project with an annual output of 20 million sets. The latter is a supplier of NIO.